Talking Weather

27th August 2013
Lowther Room, RGS-IBG, Kensington Gore, London


Contemporary debates over the ‘imminent’ climate change threat coupled with the fixation on the apparent acceleration in anthropogenic global warming, have obscured a long, complex and dynamic cultural history of public engagement with climate and the  distinctive meaning that climate holds, and has held in the past, for different places and people at a range of scales.  Recent scholarship, however, has highlighted that one way to ‘re-culture’ climate discourses is to explore “…local weather and… the relationships between weather and local physical objects and cultural practices” (Hulme, 2008).


The weather is and has been woven into our experiences of modern life in many ways. Particular social norms and cultural contexts, however, shape the way in which weather is conceptualised and experienced, which in turn, together with the knowledge of events in the recallable past, determines whether and how weather becomes inscribed into the social memory and cultural fabric of communities.


The purpose of ‘Talking Weather’ is to bring together individuals with an interest in weather study and cultural histories of the weather, to explore the ways in which people engage with and ascribe meanings to the weather and make sense of it. Specifically the event will provide a forum to discuss different methodologies and approaches that can be used to investigate and capture popular understanding of weather, weather memories and experiences.


Provisional Programme: (draft)

10:00am – Coffee and registration

10:30am – Introduction to the day

10:45am – Stephen Burt (Climatological Observers Link): Since records began …”: the development of our institutional weather memory

11:15am – Trevor Harley (University of Dundee): Frost, Snow, Thunder, and Sun: Why are People Interested in the Weather?

11:45pm – John Kettley (ex BBC Weatherman)  Weather and the Media

12:30pm – Lunch

13:30pm – Cerys Jones and Lorna Hughes (Aberystwyth University and University of Wales): Voices from the Past: Reconstructing and Re-enacting the Snows of Yesteryear

14:00pm – John Adamson (CEH, Lancaster): Perceptions of Historic “Bad Winters” in the North Pennines

14:30pm –  Georgina Endfield and Lucy Veale (University of Nottingham): Weather Walking: a ‘Discovering Britain’ Walk in the Footsteps of Gordon Manley

 15:00pm – Frank Oldfield (University of Liverpool): Memories of Gordon Manley and fieldwork on Great Dun Fell

15:30pm – Tea/coffee and discussion

16:30pm – Close


Entry is free and all welcome. Please email Georgina Endfield ( or Lucy Veale ( to confirm your attendance.